Interview with S S Michaels

The talented S.S Michaels talks about her novel 'Idols and Cons' and other amusing things.

ME: What is Idols and Cons about?

SSM: After a night of passion with a rock star she didn’t want to meet, poor Mary Bellows goes missing. Damien Tungsten knows where she is, though. After accidentally strangling her, he rolls her up in an expensive rug and dumps her in the trash. Hours later, his neighbor, one psychotic visual artist, Patrick Salinger, finds her. He drags her back into their apartment building, planning to fashion some ghastly and priceless installation pieces out of her dead body. One boy, John Thomas – meth dealer, high school loser, and son of an alcoholic – witnesses both incidents. Unfortunately for John, Damien sees him in his window as he flees the scene.

Following a battle with his own conscience, John confronts Patrick. Bad idea. Patrick forces John into helping him dismember Mary. Freaked out and in need of a smoke, John is allowed to step outside for a moment. As he puffs away, pondering his predicament, a big old Cadillac screeches to a stop right in front of him and whisks him away to the desert. When they arrive at their destination – a swank rehab facility – John finds Damien waiting to see him. Convinced that he’s about to be killed, John prays that Damien just makes it quick and painless. Damien’s got something else in mind, though – something much more painful than death: John, a punk rocker to the core, will be taken into Damien’s boy band, where he can be babysat twenty-four seven.

Reluctantly, John is transformed into teen idol Jake Wolfram. His ego spins out of control, swelling his head and his desire for even more fame and power. In an act of revenge, John uses his stash of drugs to weaken Damien and switch places with him – the imprisoned becomes the imprisonor. Patrick, also seeking revenge, comes out of hiding to attend John’s debut art exhibit. After shooting the place up, Patrick is carted off to prison where he ultimately makes it to death row. At the boy band’s performance immediately following the art gallery debacle, Damien collapses with a heart attack, caused by an overdose of cocaine. John has everything he wants: a successful art career, a promising music career, and a house in the Valley for his mom.

Back to exact his own revenge at a book signing, Damien pulls a gun and takes aim at John, ending the story with a bang.

ME: Can you tell us something of your background. Any magical tales or encounters with gnomes, dragons, mermaids?

SSM: I do actually know one gnome, but I'd prefer not to talk about it.

ME: Do any of the characters in Idols and Cons reflect on people you know or on your experiences, dreams or nightmares?

SSM: Idols & Cons started life as a screenplay, which was inspired by time I spent working on various music award shows. I caught a glimpse of just what goes on backstage and at after-parties, and the whole thing just sparked my imagination. I thought how awful it would be to be stuck in the celebrity lifestyle if that just wasn’t your thing.

ME: Do you need to be in a special state of mind when you write? Any writing rituals you wish to share?

SSM: When I write, I'm usually in kind of a hyper mood. I get up to get a drink. I sit down to write. I get up to let the dogs out. I sit down to write. I let the dogs in. I sit down to write. I play with stuff on my desk. I write some more. My attention span isn't that great so I

ME: Are you the type of writer who has her plot mapped out or do you just go on the journey and see where it takes you?

SSM: I make an insanely detailed outline, which I throw out about half-way through my story when I allow my characters to just take over and show me what they’re made of.

ME: Do you have a favourite character in Idols and Cons?

SSM: I'd have to say Patrick is my favorite, just because he's so so deliciously evil.

ME: If you could be a superhero who would you be?

SSM: I would be the female version of Iron Man. He's in great shape, doesn't get hurt because of that insane metal suit, and he's got that cool heart thing.

ME: And if you had to rescue any cartoon character from evil villains and attic clowns who would you save and why?

SSM: My first thought was to go with Finn and Jake from Adventure Time, but they don't really need any help. So, I'll say Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show. They're cool animals and I like their style.

ME: What are your hobbies?

SSM: Hobbies? Um… writing is kind of a hobby since it's not really a full-time job kind of thing yet. I also enjoy drawing, listening to music, and running.

ME: What writers inspire you and why?

SSM: Writers who inspire me, big names: Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, because that's who I want to write like when I grow up. Writers who inspire me who are friends of mine: Jeremy C. Shipp, John Edward Lawson, Scott G. Browne, Kate Jonez, D. W. Grintalis… These are people who have given me advice and kind of guided me to where I am now. There are more, and they know who they are. I am grateful for these people and their generosity.

ME: For those many people who wish to purchase Idols and cons where it is available?

SSM: It's available through Amazon, as both a paperback and an e-book.

Thank you for the interview

If you go away

Laying still and waiting in the dark. Yesterday, I thought I saw a smile but that would have been so unlike you. Dreaming of being together knowing it just wouldn't be right. I fear you've left me far behind and would despise all I stand for

but if you go away I know I will die.

I hide from myself everyday. Yet at night the girl in the mirror shrills and keeps me awake. Tells me she has evidence. I yell "What a bitch" then I hang my head in shame. What will she do if I go away?

My feet sink in the ground as I look at her one last time. I hear those same words over and over yet I know its always a mistake to love. Damn you sweet confusion! Shall I wait for you until dawn or should I let go of this chain.

You breathe and pollute my mind with your pathetic lies but I stand by you. I'm tied like a fucking knot unable to unravel. If only I respected the knife and cut myself in two but that would be unreal like a feeling of contentment and joy. Instead I'm rooted like a tree and down on my luck and there's a ringing in my head like a bell of doom.

I turn away but of course you see right through. You firmly hold me and restrict my moves.

Forgive me when I lose. Forgive me and let me drink my last beer.

I'm not ready for this but I've never been ready for anything.

Your ice cold hands glide over my skin and then I am gone

but if you go away I will surely cry

The Drifter (Re-Visited)

A drifter picks up a hitchhiker. They cruise along the highway. The car radio is turned down low. The drifter hums. The hitchhiker is feeling uncomfortable as he fidgets for something to do. He looks at his watch several times before he speaks.

"Hey, thanks for the ride. I'm Jim. Whats your name?"

"Its immaterial." Replies the drifter, keeping his eyes fixed on the road.

"I'm a salesman." Jim continues." What do you do?"


"Nothing?" Jim looks down at his watch again.

"Are you late for something?"

"No. Im just looking. Hey, would you mind turning off that radio, I have an awful headache."

The men travel in silence for the next five minutes.

The drifter speaks. "Have you ever killed someone?"

Jim raisies his voice "What kind of question is that? "

The drifter continues. "If you had to kill someone how would you do it?"

"I couldn't. I..."

The drifter cuts him off. "I said if you had to."

Jim hesitates. "Emm... I'd probably shoot them. Bang Bang." He mimics the actions of a crazed gunman as he chuckles.

"Everyone does that."

"Stab them to death, you know like in Psycho."


"Throw them off a speeding train. That good enough for you?"

"No. And you watch too many movies."

"Hey, I could kick the shit out of them." Jim adds.


Jim chuckles. He's almost enjoying the conversation now. "Okay, I have a good one. If someone had really pissed me off, I'd strap them down to the floor and pour hot motor oil down their throat. Ha.. good eh?"

"You're pathetic." The drifter sneers.

Jim snaps back. "Okay, Mr. good for nothing smart ass, how would you kill someone?"

"You really want to know?"

The journey is interrupted. The car stops.

An hour later, the drifter reaches a filling station. He steps out the car, yawns, stretches and looks up at the night sky. Then he turns and notices a young woman, looking bored, waiting for the next customer to show. As he walks through the door, he receives her with a mocking smile. She smiles back. Then he slides his tongue over his fat lips. The desire is too strong to fight.


Jimmy and the Black Wind by Neil Colquhoun

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